Introduction: From Defect to Perfect

In this instructable you'll learn how to make a decorative piece from defective coffee beans (and in the way to detect those defects to be more conscious about what you put in your cup).

From the plant to your cup there is at least to stages where we can identify defective beans these stages separated by the roasting process are crucial for the quality of the cup; if you grind this beans and use them for espresso or any other kind of extraction they will alter the flavor of the cup to a bad taste.

So what we can do with all of these beans other than put them in compost? Decorative items for your coffee shop, house, friends and/or gifts! These will last for a good amount or time and will make a good piece for a coffee lover.

The beans selected for this instructable came from the defective bean removal after the roasting.

I know a said defective beans but why use the results of beautiful beans and roast that will make a wonderful espresso when you can embrace the mistakes?

Step 1: What You’ll Need

Lots of coffee beans (defective preferably). Any local roaster will have these kind of beans or you can start choosing them from your coffee bags.

Styrofoam balls, different sizes (I used 14 cm [5.5 inches] and 7.5 cm [7.9 inches].

Hot glue gun

Glue sticks

Patience and time


White glue

Brown acrylic paint


Step 2: Beginning and Technique

So this is easy as you can see.

1. Choose one "side" of the styrofoam ball and place one coffee bean. Please keep in mind that the beauty of this is to show the middle part of the bean. The iconic center line in the middle that goes from one side to the other.

2. Once you have your starting coffee bean keep surrounding it with other beans. So one drop of glue and a coffee bean, and repeat this until you have covered the whole styrofoam ball. If your hot glue gun is like mine it will not have any kind of temperature setting so be careful because once you put (very) hot glue on styrofoam it will start "eating it".

Step 3: Continue

3. You may find places were a whole coffee bean (or smaller/underriped ones) won't fit. In your batch of defective beans you may find broken/chipped ones that may fit in the little gaps or you can break some of them this use.

4. As you go you’ll find the need to push the beans together, do it you'll have less and less of the styrofoam showing

Step 4: Finishing and Extra Tips

5. Once you place the last coffee bean take the glue strings resulting from the hot glue gun.


  • You can choose to paint the styrofoam so the spaces between the beans won't show white: I did the project with and without paint (you can see the inconsistency in the photos) at the end the white spots were hard to notice. But definitely I will paint the styrofoam next time.
  • In the way to cover every inch of surface of the styrofoam you can separate some the beans by size so you’ll be able to fill gap faster.
  • An extra hand will always be welcome. I started this project alone, when my girlfriend arrived she helped with the glue gun while I placed coffee beans.
  • The optional white glue will help to hold everything together and have a varnish like finish, the bad side of this is that white glue isn't washable.
  • This project has to much potential as a starting project: you can write the name of someone, put screws to hang them... be creative.

And there you have it! if your weren't able to get the coffee beans form a roasting laboratory or local (specialty) coffee shop you can research a little more on coffee beans defects and next time you open a bag of coffee for you morning brew look for them.

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